Effective July 24, 2023, the Patent Office updated its procedures for Interim Director Review (“DR”) of PTAB decisions. The updated procedures include the following key provisions:
- Expanding the process to permit parties to request DR of PTAB decisions on institution in AIA proceedings;
- Providing updated guidance as to what types of issues the Director will consider in DR, as well as additional guidance on various topics, such as the initiation of DR at the sole discretion of the Director (sua sponte DR), remands to PTAB for further proceedings, and sanction authority of the Director;
- Providing the Director the option to delegate review to a new independent panel called the Delegated Rehearing Panel (“DRP”); and
- Creating a new Appeals Review Panel (“ARP”), which may be convened by the Director sua sponte, to review PTAB ex parte, reexamination, or reissue appeal decisions.
Patent Office Director Kathi Vidal stated that “[w]ith these changes, we are enhancing and streamlining the Director Review and related processes, thereby making our procedures more efficient and effective for America’s innovators.” She further explained that these changes “expand and refine” the process of Director Review and were “based on feedback we received from our stakeholders.” The Patent Office will continue to solicit feedback from stakeholders through a public notice and comment rulemaking process planned to commence in the near future.
In conjunction with these new procedures, the Patent Office implemented two additional changes: (1) retiring the Precedential Opinion Panel (“POP”) process, and (2) issuing a memorandum and internal operating procedure (“IOP”) that consolidate and describe current practices related to when an applicant requests to appeal the rejection of their patent application, also known as ex parte appeals.
For more details, see Patent Office website (link here).
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